Within the past year my husband and I have been encouraged by the Lord to be, specifically, the “hands and feet” of Jesus. What exactly that was suppose to look like, we did not know. Recently, as in the past two weeks, He has shown us through several avenues (such as divine appointments and His Word) where this handsing and feeting is suppose to take place. Therefore, “the Davis’ are moving!“ to a Children’s Home in New Mexico to minister to children as house parents. ”House parenting” means that children will be living with us in a house that will be [...]
Divine Pedicure for Calloused Feet anyone?
As calloused as my feet are I’ve never been able to walk with ease without a covering under them. They are extremely tender and I can hardly stand to abide by somebody else’s “house rules” of taking my shoes off before entering. I don’t think I’d live life in China very happily. (I better watch what I say or HE might send me there someday!) My feet aren’t calloused due to walking barefoot all the time (obviously); they are that way because of the dry climate that I live in – and not enough pedicures, I’m pretty sure!
With this in mind I still desire to use my feet the way Jesus used His – walking out His Father’s work. He certainly walked many miles to get from point A to point B, but that’s not what I’m speaking of. I’d like to understand the work that He accomplished – specifically the one’s that he got in trouble for. There’s one particular scripture that I’m intrigued with, that implies a bit of callousness, and we can find it in John five, beginning in verse one.
Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him,
“Do you want to get well?”
“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”
At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed,
“It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”
Hmm. That’s interesting. It appears that Jesus, who is said to be the unblemished Lamb of God – the Perfect One – is breaking the law – His own law! How can this be?
The Sabbath Rest seems to be extremely important to God as He observed it Himself after the 6th day of creation, as we read in Genesis. He consistently reminds His people to observe and obey that commandment. It’s the 4th Commandment of the Ten, for goodness sake! That’s pretty high on His priority list. Wouldn’t you think?
So why would He break *this* law? Let’s skip over to verse 16:
So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. In his defense Jesus said to them,
“My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.”
For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
His Father is always working? But I thought that He commands us to rest? Now that sounds confusing, doesn’t it? Let’s just look at this scripture at face value – without really digging into the meaning of words. The word “work” is where the thread is getting caught and the stitches begin to unravel, and if we let this unraveling continue we can end up with a mess. Do we then throw the work of art away? Or do we take one stitch at a time putting back together what was intended by the Creator? I personally do not want to throw this one away – it’s too intriguing to me ;) So, let’s continue.
What kind of “work” did Jesus do that the Pharisees were all bent out of shape over?
Healing and then commanding the healed to move on with his life!
To me, that sounds a bit like relationship building – discipling, counseling, reconciling, healing – similarly to God walking in the garden with Adam. (I’ve wondered recently if on the 7th Day when God rested, if this “walking with Adam” was part of His resting.) I really don’t think this applies to the “ox in a ditch” scenario either (Luke 14:4-5). Or maybe it does! Because in Luke Jesus is not only using an ox as an example, but a “son”. Again, in Luke 13:14-16 He parallels an ox that’s being untied to be led to water to a woman that’s been in “bondage” for several years healing her – and the Pharisees, again, ridicule and question Him in doing this act on the Sabbath. I’m finding a theme here – do you see it?
Jesus wasn’t swinging a hammer as He grew up knowing, or plowing a field as His neighbors might have done; nor was He stomping grapes to make wine. He wasn’t working to make a living; He was restoring life where death was taking over! He was doing His Father’s work in calling back the lost sheep – His people, Israel! Where ever He walked and whomever was planted in His path He paused and loved and made right so that there might be restored a relationship back to Himself in which was intended in the first place. When He told the man to “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk”, He was commanding him to stop living the burdensome life in “chains” like all the others around him and begin to walk in the way he was meant to – resting in God’s Way! Remember when Jesus entered the temple He saw that same man and told him to “stop sinning”? Jesus recognized that this man was not living right - he was not walking in his purpose that Yahweh set out for him.
Could this be the very thing Sabbath Rest is all about? Walking in Yahweh’s purpose? If Sabbath Rest happens in the quiet calm of one’s own abode – awesome! If this involves caring and loving on others – awesomer!! Because the Father wills that all of them be restored and reconciled to Himself. This is the commission that Jesus Messiah lays out for His disciples:
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:18-19
So I don’t think that Jesus was breaking His own Law here. In fact, He’s explaining it very clearly what He actually meant, all the while throwing away that which man thought up. The Pharisees were constantly harping on Jesus and trying to trap Him in breaking the law. He was breaking them – their law. Not His. And He meant to take care of their twisting-the-truth-to-fit-their-own-comfort-agenda issue. Sound familiar Church?
Sabbath is for putting down one’s own agenda for resting in His. That may look like work – it is because He says it’s His Father’s – but if done in obedience He promises that it will not be burdensome. (see I John 5)
If my feet are calloused now I believe He is beginning to soften them for the path that He is laying out for me and my family – teaching and helping us to understand the obedience that He calls us to. Tenderness is a good attribute to cover my feet with – without it apathy and numbness would show their ugly heads ignoring the needs of the hurting.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for Rest! In fact, He’s allowed me the luxury of this very command the past several months as I’ve walked it out with careful feet making an effort to be an example to my family – I’ve written about this very thing! They are now enjoying and looking forward to our Saturdays of Rest! However, my husband and I are discovering that there is more to resting our own bodies – as good and wholesome, and very much needed at times, as it is – but there’s that “loving others” command as well.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:34-35
But do you think that this was actually a new commandment? What about Leviticus 19:18?
Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.
He commanded it in His own Law! Not only did He require us to love our neighbors but our enemies as well:
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, Matthew 5:44
Are you getting the idea that maybe loving others comes before loving ourselves? In today’s society we are hearing the ever popular phrase: “You’ve got to take care of yourself before you can take care of somebody else!” I get that…I really do! The drunken mom can’t take care of her children without becoming sober. The dead-beat husband can’t take care of his wife until he gets his own act together and cleans himself up and gets a job. A worn out employee can’t give her best unless she has time off to wind down and rest. I get that! But I think we’ve taken this idea to the extreme to the point of forgetting about everybody else because we’re too busy taking too long getting ourselves together.
“I deserve to treat myself at the spa!”
“I’ve worked so hard, that I deserve that new car, or boat, or vacation home, or you fill in the blank.”
And these things are not bad … I’m not saying that! It’s when we forget that we are here to be used by God to reach others – that’s when those things or thoughts become hindrances. You see?
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. John 15:12
And Jesus is still loving on us with all the mercy and grace given on the cross! His feet are tender. His feet walk straight – straight in the path of the lost and hurting. He recognizes them because they have always come before Himself. We find several times in scripture that there are times that Jesus went away to find time alone. Yes! I love that! I’m a person that needs her space and time to study and pray and just be. With. Him. And I believe He calls us to those times of refreshing. But have you noticed that He was constantly interrupted by either His own disciples or the multitudes … every time?
Consider this: I believe those times were Father-appointed interruptions.
Father, you have called and chosen me to be Your “Hands and Feet”. Continue to soften them – scrubbing off callouses that so hinder me to walk the right Way. Cause me to recognize the people You are calling back to right relationship with You, so that I may be used to give a hand – a touch – by the working of your Holy Spirit through the life-giving blood of Your Son, Yeshua the Messiah. Cause me to recognize Your divine interruptions as You work them out in my walk with You. Amein!
Shabbat Shalom Y’all!